No matter who we are, what we look like, or what talents we possess, we all have our insecurities.
In response, I received a lot of e-mails from thankful women, who appreciated that I articulated how so many feel when they go to the gym. The gorgeous, tanned, model-beautiful women seem to have it all without any work whatsoever. That can make the average, everyday woman feel like a chump in comparison. Many of us become disheartened that no matter how many miles we run and how many weights we lift, we’ll never look like…well, them.
I’ve also gotten several e-mails from them. Yes, the very women I wrote about in my column! Some simply said I shouldn’t assume that big-breasted blondes sporting string bikinis in the gym sauna are bimbos. Others were quite vitriolic, stating that I was obviously jealous because they could afford plastic surgery and I couldn’t – after all, they reasoned, if I could, I “wouldn’t be so fat and ugly.”
To be honest, I wondered if I was getting Punk’d with a lot of the angry e-mail. These women defended their trophy-wife status and their right to get plastic surgery, a notion I couldn’t relate to in the slightest. A former chubby girl who worked hard to drop the weight and become an endurance athlete, I scoffed at the notion that these women tried to make me feel bad about what I wrote. Didn’t they know how they made most of the female population feel?
I told some of my girlfriends about these e-mails, laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. A friend of mine, who is a gorgeous, petite, living Barbie doll, had been silent most of the conversation. During a lull, she wrinkled her eyebrow: “Have you ever considered that maybe you make them feel insecure, too?”
The question made me laugh out loud. “Me? How the hell could I make any of those girls feel insecure?” I asked. “I have thighs that jiggle and scars over much of my skin!”
“Yeah, but you can run — fast, I might add,” she said. “And you make it look easy while you’re doing it.”
“They only want to dance about in their Lululemon!” I replied. “Trust me, honey – running is the last thing they want to do.”
“Don’t be so sure,” she whispered, “in fact, I envy you all the time while I’m dancing about in my Lululemon at the races. You just never see it because you’ve left me in your dust.”
Today’s column is not an apology for what I wrote in the March issue of Competitor. I wrote an essay about something that happened at the gym one day and how it made me feel. In a very public forum, I aired my insecurities. I don’t regret that, because I’ve had a lot of women share the exact same insecurities with me.
But I’ve also learned something important from the response: No matter who we are, what we look like, or what talents we possess, we all have our insecurities. While we’re busy comparing ourselves to them, we become blind to the good things we offer. To inflate our ego back to normal size, we cut them down with names: Bimbo. Trophy Wife. Fat. Ugly.
But in the shadow of envy, we forget that we possess something they might covet, too.
With that, I give you “Gym Envy.” Read it. Enjoy it. Or maybe don’t.
It’s your call.
About The Author:
Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke